David Clarkson had a career season for the New Jersey Devils in 2011-12, scoring a career-high 30 goals and a career-best 46 points. The Devils reached the Stanley Cup Finals, and Clarkson had another three goals and 12 points in the playoffs. So far this season he has picked right up where he left off, and leads the Devils with five goals and nine points. He’s also one of the most versatile players on the team, capable of doing whatever the team needs him to.
In addition to scoring goals, Clarkson brings a physical presence and can deliver big hits and isn’t afraid to drop the gloves when asked. Three of his goals this season have come on the power play, one of few bright spots for a Devils power play that ranks 22nd in the league. He led the team in penalty minutes the past two seasons and already leads them again with 11 this season. He fought the Philadelphia Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds already this season, and is helping the Devils fill part of the void left by the departure of Zach Parise. The team now finds itself with another choice to make as Clarkson will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
During the lockout, Clarkson briefly played for Salzburg EC in Austria. He had two goals and three points in five games before returning to North America. His emergence this season as a scoring threat is a great complement to Patrik Elias and Ilya Kovalchuk. With center Adam Henrique back from injury and Martin Brodeur in almost top form as normal, the Devils could very well be on their way to the playoffs again.